LING1000: Introduction to Language

About the Course

LING 1000 is designed for students with a variety of different backgrounds and interests to give a general introduction to linguistics, the scientific study of language.

The first part of the course focuses on the physical and cognitive aspects of sounds and speech production. We discuss how knowledge about the sound patterns of language can be applied in context, by learning about accents, dialects, and other types of variation in languages: How is English spoken on the East and West coasts of the U.S., or in Britain vs. America? What about other world Englishes?

After this discussion of sounds, we will move on to an examination of the structure of words and sentences, building towards the ability to find patterns in linguistic data from any language. We will discuss how grammatical structures play into language acquisition and processing. We will also look at second language learning, and the different approaches and factors at play.

In the last part of the course, we will focus on understanding the ways people use and interpret language in different contexts. With understanding “meaning” as a foundation, we move on to exploring a variety of issues in language and culture: for example, humor, sarcasm, and social rules of politeness.

Course Roadmap

Why Take It?

This course is open to anyone with an interest in language. If you are majoring or minoring in linguistics, this course will give you the background you need to succeed in other linguistics courses. If you are studying a language, this course will provide you with additional tools to help you progress. 

This course also counts toward the social science requirement for Georgetown College undergraduates. Linguistics interfaces with a wide variety of other fields (e.g., anthropology, sociology, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, computer science, philosophy, politics, law), so you should be able to make exciting connections whatever your background and interests.

Sample Syllabus

Here’s a link to a sample syllabus for LING1000: Introduction to Language.

Who to Contact

Lara Bryfonski
Assistant Professor
Department of Linguistics
Concentration Head for Applied Linguistics
Director of Introduction to Language